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Gratitude’s not an accident. Cultivate it.

Note from Leslie:

Learn Tibetan textile art in online apprenticeship with me. Make your art a sacred practice. The Stitching Buddhas Virtual Apprentice Program is the vehicle through which I teach creative, fabric-loving Buddhist women around the world to stitch sacred beauty — beauty like you see in these wake-ups each week. Visit StitchingBuddhas.com for more info and send me an email if you have any questions.

 
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Stitching Buddhas: Can Sewing be Meditation?

This is a re-publication of an interview with Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo by Naomi Imatome-Yun originally published in World Lifestyle magazine in March 2014.

Finding your spiritual and creative path, stitch by stitch

 

Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo is one of few Westerners trained in the rare Buddhist art of silk appliqué thangkas. She was featured in the documentary, Creating Buddhas: The Making and Meaning of Fabric Thankgas, and runs a virtual apprenticeship program called Stitching Buddhas that teaches people how to integrate their spiritual and creative paths.

 

WorldLifestyle: What made you start your online program to teach people this rare art form?

Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo: When I completed my own apprenticeship with a Tibetan master in India, His Holiness the Dalai Lama encouraged me to use my skills to awaken the spiritual aspirations of people across religions and cultures.

WL: How can stitching thankgas be spiritual?

LRW: Many of us don’t use our hands much anymore, aside from typing on a keyboard and swiping a touchscreen. Working with needle and thread reawakens our tactile intelligence.

More importantly:

  1. Spending time with sacred images reminds us of our deepest values and connects us with the blessings and energy of spiritual teachers.
  2. Being present with each stitch allows the mind to settle.
  3. Conscious stitching is an antidote to multi-tasking and and an invitation to be fully present.
  4. Confidence builds as challenges are overcome. It feels good to develop new skills.
  5. Beauty lightens the heart, making our whole world look more beautiful.

WL: Why did you decide to make it an online teaching program?

LRW: I’m an artist, teacher, and caretaker of a sacred and transformative Tibetan textile tradition and I wanted to teach this ancient art in a contemporary way to a western audience.

The six-month online course gives these women a way to integrate their spiritual and creative paths. It increases their mindfulness, attention, connection with the sacred, and opens up many doors to self-understanding and compassion. And also builds their confidence in using technology to learn and communicate.

And as a woman, my approach seems particularly appreciated by women — women who are creative, who seek deeper meaning, who are courageous enough to engage in online courses but may not be particularly tech-savvy, who love fabrics and want to engage in the world in beautiful, tactile, meaningful ways.

“Many of us don’t use our hands much anymore, aside from typing on a keyboard and swiping a touchscreen. Working with needle and thread reawakens our tactile intelligence.”

 
View the original article at World Lifestyle magazine.

 
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Do it!

Note from Leslie:

Have you heard of the Stitching Buddhas Virtual Apprentice Program? It’s the means by which I teach fabric-loving Buddhist women around the world to stitch sacred beauty — beauty like you see in these wake-ups each week. Might you be a stitching buddha? If you yearn to integrate your creativity and your spirituality, you just might be. Make art your sacred practice. Visit StitchingBuddhas.com for more info and send me an email if you have any questions.

 
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The Threads of Awakening Transformative Arts Studio has Opened!

studio-door

Saturday’s open house was a great success, with well over a hundred people in attendance. Great energy and enthusiasm were present in the space. A good sign for good things to come!

The studio will be a space for the creation, preservation, documentation, and transmission of the sacred Tibetan appliqué tradition and for playful, colorful, multifaceted encouragement of every individual’s journey in awakening. Leslie will be there stitching most days and will host periodic Laughter Sessions, Stitching Workshops, and Film Nights.

In addition, visiting teachers will offer workshops in a wide variety of transformative arts. Offerings in the first few months will include Dream Altars with Ruth Davis, Taoist Light Qigong with Chiyan Wang, and Creating your Inner Mandala with Kalsang Dawa.

Check our online calendar for up-to-date information.

In addition to scheduled activities, Leslie will be stitching in the studio most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and would love to share her process with you. There are no fixed hours, so it’s always best to call in advance. If you live in the area or ever come to visit, please call 805-626-8272 or write info@threadsofawakening.com to make an appointment.

Can’t wait to see you there!

For the month of March 2014, the thangkas will be “out of station,” as they say in India. They’ll be on display at the An Lac Mission / Ventura Buddhist Center at 901 South Saticoy Ave in Ventura, CA 93004. Leslie will still be stitching in the Studio. And Dream Altars, Qigong, and Laughter gatherings will take place. But to see the art in March, visit AnLac Temple. Here’s their contact information:

Email: missionanlac@yahoo.com

Phone: (805) 659-9751 or David Stanley at (805) 630-6922

Website: http://venturabuddhistcenter.org

 
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Transformative Arts Studio Opens at Channel Islands Harbor: Sacred Tibetan Applique Provides Background for Laughter and Learning

The new Threads of Awakening Transformative Arts Studio will open its doors this Saturday, February 22. Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo is the only westerner traditionally trained in sacred Tibetan appliqué art and her Channel Islands studio will be the first to show and teach the rare art form in the West.

Sacred and transformative art has a new venue in southern California, at the Channel Islands Harbor. Oxnard is known more for agriculture (and its awkward name) than for art and spirituality. But the ocean and harbor make it a perfect environment for expansive experience.

Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo has been quietly stitching silk thangkas (a sacred Tibetan art form) at her home there for years. This Saturday, February 22, she’ll open a studio allowing the public to view this rare textile art and interact with it, along with other transformative arts.

Silk Thangka

This magnificent mosaic of silk will be on display at the Threads of Awakening Open House. Saturday, February 22, 2014. 2810 S. Harbor Blvd, Suite 201, Oxnard, CA.

Tibetan art is all about transformation — transforming ourselves from a habitual and somewhat deluded state into our true, clear, awake selves. At the Threads of Awakening Transformative Arts Studio, not only will Leslie make and show thangkas, but she’ll provide space for a variety of activities with that same purpose.

This Saturday, the studio will be open to the public from 10 to 4. Complete silk appliqué thangkas will be on display alongside work-in-progress.

In March, the studio will host two visiting teachers offering different transformative learning experiences:

On March 1, Ruth Davis of sparktheheart.com will come down from Morro Bay to lead a half-day Dream Altars Workshop in which participants will create three-dimensional visual reminders of their intentions.

On March 12, Chiyan Wang, well-known Santa Barbara Qigong master will begin a three-week introductory class in Taoist Light Qigong for self healing.

In April, Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo herself will lead a 3-day Stitching Buddhas Workshop, introducing students to the distinctive stitchery techniques of Tibetan appliqué. The Threads of Awakening Transformative Arts Studio will be the only place outside of Asia where the ancient art of Tibetan appliqué is taught in person — and in English!

Master thangka painter Kalsang Dawa, will visit from Vancouver in June to teach a 4-day workshop in mandala painting. This very special workshop will introduce traditional thangka painting techniques, such as canvas preparation and the grinding of minerals, while allowing participants to express their own inner wisdom through their art. No prior experience is required. Kalsang Dawa was trained by the renowned Venerable Sangye Yeshe, personal thangka painter to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and head of the thangka painting school at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives until his death in 2009.

Views of Awakening, a (mostly) Buddhist film series will begin in April.

And Leslie will lead Laughter Workouts every Sunday morning in March at 9am. Sundays are a great time to visit the Harbor and browse the abundant Farmers Market next door.

The Threads of Awakening Transformative Arts Studio will celebrate its opening with an Open House on Saturday, February 22, 2014 from 10am to 4pm. The studio is upstairs in Suite 201 of Harbor Landing, just above the Italian Job restaurant at 2810 S. Harbor Blvd., Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard, CA.

Stay informed of studio events with our online calendar.

 
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